Posts tagged with: Vivi Andrews
Posted by Autumn Jordon Feb 6 2017, 12:02 am in advice for writers, Autumn Jordon, Ava Blackstone, craft, jeannie lin, Marketing, Rita Henuber, short stories, Vivi Andrews, Writer's Toolbox
Writing a great short story used to be the training ground for writers. Hemingway started his career by writing them, as did Stephen King, and many renown others.
For many years, the appetite for short stories, nearly disappeared, cutting the number of magazines that included them substantially, and leaving only classic short stories on the book shelves. However, I believe the tide is changing among today’s readers. Their time is limited and there are times when they just want something worthy and short while they’re waiting in a doctor’s office or school parking lot.
Also, many are now reading on their phones, and reading a short story is more feasible on the small device.
This month, I dove into the short market with a novelette titled Perfect Moments. It released on February first. I was nervous about writing it because shorts have a totally different writing style than a full length novel. It was a learning experience, but after receiving emails from readers requesting to know whether Elizabeth and Bob Kincaid (from Perfect) made it home from their overseas duty, I decided to give Elizabeth and Bob their story. Their short.
Another reason I decided to try my hand at writing a short story was because today’s reader wants more product from an author, and quicker. I’m comfortable writing a full length novel in a year, sometimes nine months. But to write quicker, I know the quality of my work would decline. I want to continue to improve my craft, not hinder it. So to feed my fans cravings, writing short stories might be the way to go.
I asked my Ruby Sisters their thoughts on writing short stories.
Rita Henuber said she wrote her short stories because, “I have many stories bumping around inside my skull. Characters screaming at me to tell their story. Some are absolutely not full length novel material. All but one in my collection of short stories began with an experience of mine. I had to write them.”
And Jeannie Lyn said, “I actually LOVE shorts and think they’re a great way to pack a punch in a short amount of space as well as introduce writers to your voice. The last short story that I wrote was meant to be an introduction to my steampunk world for new readers and a little bonus for existing readers.”
Ruby sister Ava Blackstone stated she wrote a short after reading an article in her RWA chapter’s newsletter about writing for Woman’s World. “I decided to give it a try. I found that short stories were great palate cleansers when I was sick of my main WIP. I also liked the freedom to experiment with different writing styles without worrying that I was wasting months on something that might not work.”
And Vivi Andrews stated, “I’ve always written short stories for anthologies, usually with open submission calls that provided the opportunity to get my writing in front of more readers. My little gateway stories to lure readers into my world. 🙂 This spring I’ll be participating in the 2nd RWA Anthology.”
I then asked the sisters if they found writing shorts difficult? I know I found it challenging not to add more conflict, more points of view, more of everything.
Vivi said, “Actually, I don’t find them difficult at all. I was nervous initially about stepping out of my comfort zone, but I wound up loving the opportunity to tell more compact romances.”
Rita stated, “Not at all. I enjoyed writing the shorts and the side benefit of stopping those people in my head screaming. I view shorts as a moment in time. A snapshot event giving the reader something to ponder.”
Jeannie started writing shorts before she wrote novels. “I have a totally different mindset when I switch back to writing shorts. They’re not just shorter novel storylines — the way I plot and present a short story is entirely different than what I do in a novel.”
Ava said, “Writing that first short story definitely required a paradigm shift. I had to come up with a much smaller-scale conflict than I was used to writing so that I could wrap things up realistically in 800 words. It helped me to think about it as though I was writing a scene instead of a novel. So then it was just a matter of coming up with a compelling scene that could stand on its own.”
So why write shorts? I’d heard shorts help with sales on other books, especially if their part of a series. Perfect Moments just released, so I don’t have a track record to share, so again I questioned my sisters who had published short stories.
Jeannie stated, “I actually have found it helpful bringing in new readers with shorts. Since my settings and worlds are not so mainstream, I think readers find shorts an easy way to get a feel for me without having to commit to a novel. Short stories with direct tie-ins and characters from other series are the best way to go in terms of hooking readership. Teaming up with other authors in anthologies is a also a great strategy for getting that first look.”
Ava had a different use for her short story. “I give it away to readers who sign up for my mailing list, and it has worked great as an incentive to drive signups. I’m planning to write another short to go along with my next Ava Blackstone book.”
If you’re considering writing a short story, I have some advice.
- Read short stories. There are many; The International Thriller Writers have released collections titled Face Off. And, I know the Mystery Writers also release an annual collection. Then you have classics like William Faulkner’s That Evening Sun.
- Pick your story’s moment or moments that really matter and write about them.
- Stay with one main character.
- Write more words than you need and then pick the words that show don’t tell, show character’s change, and that moves the story forward.
- Go through the same editing steps as you would for a novel.
My sisters also offered advice or suggestions?
Rita said, “I go by what I love to read. IMO a short story is for a reader’s experience. I will also say I think there is a difference between what is considered a short story to a novella. With a novella, because of its larger word count, I expect story structure, GMC, story resolution, the whole enchilada. Shorter stories can certainly have all that good stuff but I think of them as a bite of the enchilada not the whole thing.
Vivi offered this advice, “I didn’t take any online courses or read any books on the subject. I will strongly recommend that anyone looking to write short consider the kind of conflicts that can be resolved quickly. If you give your characters more than they can reasonably solve in a short format, you’re going to have some very grumpy readers.”
Jeannie recommended, “Rather than craft books (which I normally love), the best way to learn for shorts is to read how others do it. I think there’s MORE of an art to writing short than writing a novel. The good thing is that they’re short. 🙂
Some authors I love: Ray Bradbury (for voice, tone, memorable setup and hook). If you can find it, read “A Laurel and Hardy Love Affair”. Edgar Allen Poe (check out his word choice and how effective his opening lines are)
For romance, these authors’ shorts are actually novellas, but they establish character and emotional stakes in a relatively short amount of time. Courtney Milan – The depth of characterization is amazing. They feel as emotionally complete as full novels. And Ruthie Knox – She sets up emotional tension wonderfully between hero and heroine”
Thank you, sisters for sharing your experiences in the short story market.
Please ask any questions that you might have and we’ll try to answer them for you.
Autumn Jordon is an award-winning author of romantic suspense/thrillers and contemporary romance. Join her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com. And don’t forget to check out Perfect Moments.
Ava Blackstone is a winner and two-time finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® contest and has five short romance stories published in Woman’s World magazine. She is currently hard at work on the next contemporary romance in her Voretti Family series. You can find her on the web at: http://avablackstone.com PRETTY IN INK
Jeannie Lin is known for writing groundbreaking historical romances set in Tang Dynasty China starting with her Golden Heart award-winning debut, Butterfly Swords. Her Chinese historicals have received multiple awards and starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. SILK, SWORDS, AND SURRENDAR
Rita Henuber; I’ve always had stories in me and now I’m sharing them. I married a Marine, a man I’d known since I was fourteen. I’m fortunate to have lived many places and traveled to the states and countries I didn’t live. I moved back to the barrier island in Florida where I grew up and now spend time writing, weaving my experiences into my stories. My first books have heroes and heroines in the military or government service. But, I’ve started on a new series of books with collections of short stories. LET ME TELL YOU A STORY
Vivi Andrews is a Golden Heart winner & 2-Time RITA finalist. As Lizzie Shane she writes contemporary romance with a pop culture twist, and as Vivi Andrews she writes paranormal romance. ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID
Posted by Ruby Admin Sep 16 2014, 12:01 am in Ruby Tuesday, Vivi Andrews
Hear ye, hear ye! It’s time for another edition of Ruby Tuesday, that day when we sit down with one of the Rubies and rake her over the coals get to know her a little better. Today we welcome paranormal romance author Vivi Andrews! Take it away, Vivi!
Name: Vivi Andrews
2009 GH Category & Title: Easy Money, Single Title Contemporary
What Happened to That Book: It’s still sitting on a shelf, waiting for its turn.
What subgenre(s) do you write? I’m published in paranormal romance, but next year I’ll also be returning to my contemporary roots with a new pen name (woot!). I’ve tried my hand at the occasional YA manuscript as well and used to play around in fantasy, but nothing has come of those yet.
When did you start writing? (And why?) I began writing when I was thirteen – a fantasy story with wizards and princes. I wrote then for the same reason I write now – because I’ve got to get the stories out of my head somehow.
How many books have you written?
Published: 5 novels, 15 novellas
Scheduled to release: 4 novels, 1 novella
On the shelf: 9 (ish) novels, 1 novella – several of which will NEVER see the light of day, though some have definite potential
Vivi’s Upcoming Lone Pine Pride Release
What are you working on now? I’m currently working on the 5th book in my Lone Pine Pride shape-shifter romance series (Tangling with the Tiger, Fall 2015). The second book in the series, Taming the Lion, comes out in two weeks. (Squee!)
Where do you get your best ideas? In the car or the shower. Anywhere I can’t immediately write them down, it seems.
What are your favorite subgenre(s) to read? Paranormal, YA, Contemporary, and Historical. I’m a junkie for all things Nalini Singh, Kristan Higgins, Jennifer Crusie, Sarah MacLean, Victoria Dahl and Scott Westerfeld.
What was the first romance you ever read? I think it was called Secret Fire. A Johanna Lindsey about an English noblewoman falling in love with the Russian prince who abducted her off the street and drugged her with aphrodisiacs because he just decided he had to have her. Can you say Old Skool?
What’s your day job? Writer! And I seriously love being able to say that!
What was the first job you ever had? Grocery bagger. I was awesome at it.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had? Renting motor homes to tourists. I was awful at it.
College? I graduated from Northwestern University (Go Cats!) with wonderfully useless degrees in theatre and theoretical mathematics.
Marital status? Kids? I sometimes feel like I am the only old maid romance writer on the planet. But I am a deeply kickass aunt. My sister’s kids are my favorite people on the planet.
Where are you from? Alaska! I travel a lot and am currently (temporarily) living in Manhattan, but I will always be a west coast girl. My family hails from Hawaii, but my folks moved to Alaska for an adventure when they were first married and it stuck.
Vivi at a Tiger Sanctuary in Thailand doing “research” for her shape-shifter series
Where would you build your dream house? My dream house would be a boat – going with me wherever impulse took me.
If money were no object, where would you go on your dream vacation? Antarctica! I want to go so badly.
What is the most interesting place you’ve ever traveled to? I LOVE travel, so this is a hard one. I adored Cambodia, and it was incredible to see Egypt, and pretty much all of Europe rocked, so… yeah, I’m not sure I could pick just one place. It’s like picking a favorite star.
What three words would you use to describe yourself? Wanderer, adaptable, and… um… nerdy? I love geeking out over stuff.
What piece of random trivia would you use to entertain a new acquaintance at a cocktail party? My grandfather was the obstetrician who delivered Barack Obama. No joke.
What’s your astrological sign? Leo. Rrrawr. (No wonder I write about lions.)
Vivi’s Upcoming Print Release in her Karmic Consultants Paranormal Rom-Com Series
What is your Myers-Briggs designation? I’m right on the line between INTJ (the Mastermind) and INTP (the Architect).
What is your favorite movie of all time? The Philadelphia Story. I’ve been addicted to it since I was twelve. (Though The Princess Bride occasionally fights for dominance and Midnight in Paris came close.)
Do you like sports? What team(s) do you follow? I’m a total baseball junkie. GO MARINERS!!!!
What advice do you have for new writers just starting out? Give yourself permission to suck. It’s always easier to edit later than to try to perfect everything as it comes out. The best work happens when we aren’t trying to finesse everything. Just let it fly.
What is the best writing advice you ever received? So many things! But probably “Write the book you want to read.” I’m a big fan of pleasing yourself first.
Thank you, Vivi!
Posted by Elizabeth Bemis Oct 11 2013, 12:01 am in Karmic Consultants, Ruby Release, Vivi Andrews
After reading Vivi Andrew’s Finder’s Keeper, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Karma’s book, Naughty Karma. Now that I’ve read the book, it must be said, my impatience was well-justified! Moreover, I couldn’t wait to grill Vivi about how she brought these fabulous characters to life. Before I commence with the grilling, however, let me tell you about Naught Karma:
Double crossing the devil is a dangerous business.
Nearly two decades ago, Prometheus sold his beating heart to a devil in exchange for epic power. That contract is about to expire—and so is he. There’s only one woman with the power to help him see his next birthday. And he’s willing to use every manipulation in his arsenal to pry that power from the ice queen’s grip.
Karma, who values order above all else, has had enough of the unscrupulous warlock’s pranks endangering her people. But when she confronts the wily trickster to demand a cease fire, his terms throw her for a loop. The bastard wants her to save his life—and he wants her in his bed.
Clinging to her hard-won control is the only way Karma knows to keep her abilities from overwhelming her. If anyone can tempt her to embrace the chaos of her magic, it’s Prometheus.
One kiss brings her defenses crashing down. But can she trust Prometheus…or has she lost her own heart to a warlock with a hidden agenda?
EB: This book has been years in the making… Was there a lot of extra pressure knowing that you’ve been building to Karma’s book for a while?
VA: LOL. That’s exactly what I asked Tammy when I read Tempt Me (everyone go read it! it’s soooo good!) so I guess it’s only fair that I should answer too.
Naughty Karma was actually only a few months in the making ;), but Karma has been a featured character in every book of the Karmic Consultants series and readers have been asking me for her story since I debuted with The Ghost Shrink back in 2009. With that kind of build up, I knew I couldn’t let this book suck. But I had time (and six KC books) to mull over what her hero would be like (he had to be a force in his own right) and what kind of conflict would bring them together (the stakes had to be high – life or death, baby).
I actually liked knowing there were readers counting on me not to screw it up, but then I’ve always preferred working under pressure. Hopefully the end result doesn’t disappoint!
EB: I’m going to ask THE question that every writer gets repeatedly… Where do you get your ideas? What influences you to write a cast of characters with paranormal abilities to fight the big bad woo woo?
VA: Where did I get the idea? At McDonald’s. (I was sitting there with a ten-gallon cup of Diet Coke when I wrote the opening scene where Karma confronts Prometheus and takes him to task for his unscrupulous ways.)
In terms of the Origin Story of the series – the short answer is that it was in response to an open submission call for paranormal romantic comedy. I’d been writing contemp rom-com and was an avid paranormal reader, so I wanted to try my hand at it. I still think of this series as being right on that line between contemporary and paranormal – mostly about contemporary romance type conflicts, but with a few psychic powers thrown in.
I’ve always been a sucker for super power stories (the X-Men are my crack) and I really love the idea of a tight-knit community formed by those with extraordinary abilities. A sort of family that comes together because of the ways they don’t fit in with the rest of the world. The Karmic Consultants stories are opposites attract stories, but they are really about finding acceptance (both accepting ourselves and accepting others into our hearts). Those themes just give me warm fuzzies all over.
EB: I have to admit, you had me squealing out loud with some of your (older) pop culture references. There were a couple of references to The Princess Bride… (which it must be said is one of my favorite movies of all time) and the “Riggs and Murtaugh” line hee! Do you ever worry about younger readers not getting these kinds of references? (I ask because I’m struggling with this in my own writing! I have a 26 year old who I run things past, and I’m afraid I get a lot of blank stares!)
VA: Nope. I don’t worry about “old” references at all. In part because I have a young cousin who knows more about Monty Python than I do and a young-at-heart aunt who could school me on Glee. Pop culture doesn’t care how old you are – you can glom it at any age.
I don’t get absolutely every reference in every book I read and I still love them, so I hope readers can still enjoy Naughty Karma even if they’ve never seen a television. My bigger concern is writing references that are true to the point-of-view of the character. Prometheus likes to screw with people and he’s an appropriate age to be familiar with the Lethal Weapon movies – so the Riggs & Murtaugh gag suits him.
A couple years ago I did have an editor express concern that a Twilight reference was dating one of my books, but hey, Jane Austen referenced Ann Radcliffe’s Gothics in Northanger Abbey so maybe dating your books with appropriate contemporary references isn’t such a crime.
EB: You have an ethnically diverse cast of characters, which I love. (It seems like a lot of romance series have a pretty vanilla cast) Have you had any comments from readers (good, bad or indifferent?)
VA: No one has ever commented on it to me. I suppose because my books aren’t “about” race. The couples are ethnically diverse because my family is ethnically diverse and that is how love looks to me. I’m not trying to make a social point with it, just writing what I know.
EB: You are the world famous, world traveling Nomadic Ruby. Where were you when you wrote this book and how did the location influence it?
VA: *snort* I’m certainly not world famous, but thanks for the laugh. I was in the mountains of New Hampshire when I wrote the bulk of the book and I think the only influence the location had on it was the fact that my place up there didn’t have internet so I had fewer distractions. I’d highly recommend it for the autumn colors and a peaceful retreat if you’re looking to go be a word-hermit.
EB: Thanks so much for telling us about Naught Karma!
VA: Thank you so much for hosting me, Liz! I’ll just leave you with a little snippet of Prometheus and Karma squaring off in Naughty Karma. 🙂
He seemed even taller than he had the day before—which was peculiar. He should have seemed smaller in the bright, expansive spaciousness of her office than he had in the cluttered, dingy surrounds of his shop. Perhaps it was seeing him in motion that made him seem larger than life. He’d been so still the previous night, but this morning he was a body in motion, testing every corner of her office, and her patience. He prowled the room, touching her things, trying to get a rise out of her.
“What are you doing here, Prometheus?”
“I’m so eager to be reformed I couldn’t wait a single day.” He flung his arms wide, throwing back his head. “I am your clay. Mold me into virtue.”
She arched a brow. “I’m not sure my skill as a sculptor is up to the task. The raw materials leave something to be desired.”
“I assure you I leave nothing to be desired. Thoroughness, that’s my motto.”
Karma did not blush. She was on her home turf. No amount of innuendo could fluster her. “I thought your motto was reckless endangerment in the name of freedom and fun.”
“Sounds wordy. Wouldn’t fit very well on a coat of arms.”
“Prometheus.” She made his name an epithet of impatience.
“Are you surprised I couldn’t wait until tomorrow? I only have two and a half months to live. I can’t waste days.”
EB: You can read another excerpt here, or just go ahead and buy it (You know you want to!)
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Samhain Publishing
Posted by Dani Wade Nov 16 2012, 12:01 am in characterization, Karmic Consultants, paranormal romance, Ruby Release, Vivi Andrews
Have you ever gotten so involved in a world of characters that you feel like you could sit down for dinner with them? Well, I had the privilege of reading fellow Ruby Sister Vivi Andrew’s new addition to the KARMIC CONSULTANTS series, FINDER’S KEEPER (Book 6). And I could swear that this Sunday I’m having dinner with the Corregiani family so I can watch even more of their antics! But instead I’ll just have a lovely little visit with Vivi – and y’all get to join us!
Dani: I’ve yet to see 2 characters so diametrically opposed to each other as Mia and Chase—the workaholic versus the slacker—who appear on the surface to be opposites in every way. Yet their happily ever after feels very right! Did the nature of their differences make finding their common ground harder?
Vivi: I love opposites attract stories. Who better to open our eyes to a new way of seeing the world than someone who looks at it from such a completely different viewpoint? Chase and Mia do have a lot of ground to cover to find a way to meet in the middle, but the fact that they’re able to fill in the gaps in one another’s lives makes them the perfect team. Some readers have compared Mia to Brennan from Bones or Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory and Chase is able to be her bridge to a less intellectually focused world, while Mia is able to ground him.
Dani: For a book written in your trademark humorous style, this story tackles a pretty heavy subject: the opposition between scientific and magical belief systems. The woman who wishes she could make her family forget their dependence on a “charmed” watch, and the man who will use his psychic powers to find the watch after she loses it. Where did the ideas for Mia’s way of thinking and Chase’s rebuttals originate? Any real life experience thrown in there?
Vivi: You know, I wasn’t consciously pulling anything from real life, but my sister (to whom I dedicated the book) is a fiercely serious scientist and my brother was the kind of smooth-talker who could make the most skeptical among us believe in magic (not unlike Chase). I suppose hearing my siblings bickering all those years growing up has finally paid off in Chase & Mia’s banter. 🙂
Dani: The characters in FINDER’S KEEPER are delightfully unique – a true scientist who views the world on a detailed, analytical level and an extremely laid back hero. Yet the more we get to know Chase and all he’s been through, the more his choices make us fall in love with him. Then we have Mia’s crazy Italian family and the traditions that keep them close. Characterization is an incredible strength in your stories! Any suggestions for the writers out there on how to make those characters come alive?
Vivi: Thank you! My characters always feel like real people to me, alive inside my head, so I’m delighted to hear that some of that translated to the page. Unfortunately I’m not sure I have any fabulous tips on characterization. I guess the trick is to never make your characters do something in service of the plot. To always let them be themselves and build the story around that truth.
Dani: Our readers might be familiar with your wandering lifestyle (we Rubies get to live vicariously through your frequent travels). Will you share a little about your most recent trip? What was your favorite part?
Vivi: I am a certifiable travel junkie. 🙂 My latest trip was actually pretty close to home (compared to Egypt, China, New Zealand, and some of my other adventures). I recently spent a good chunk of time in rural New England and Quebec – hiking and enjoying the fall foliage people had been telling me so much about – but my absolute favorite part of the trip was my very first ever flying trapeze lesson! There’s a trapeze school in Bostonand I treated myself to a lesson as a reward when I finished my latest manuscript. I flew! (And afterward I ached in muscles I didn’t remember I had.) The experience was amazing. Highly recommended. You can bet I’ll be back dangling from that bar soon, jumping off the platform when they yell “Hup!”
Dani: You are an incredibly prolific writer! With 3 novels, 12 novellas, and 1 short story on store shelves, I know you have even more in the works. What’s on the horizon for you? Any chance we might get to see Karma’s story (head of Karmic Consultants in the Karmic Consultants series)?
Vivi: Funny you should ask, since I just heard (breaking news!) that Karma’s book, Naughty Karma, will have a Fall 2013 release to close out the KC series. (Woot!) Now that I’ve delivered the last Karmic book, I’m exploring some new series ideas and considering heading in a shiny new direction. On to the next adventure!
Today let’s talk our favorite “opposites attract” stories! What are the two characters whose banter and push/pull interactions you’ve most enjoyed? What did the author do to make their relationship funny or sexy without simply being antagonistic?
About FINDER’S KEEPER:
Love isn’t a science. It’s pure chemistry.
Karmic Consultants, Book 6
True love? For neuroscientist Dr. Mia Corregianni, it’s just an unproven hypothesis. But when she loses the heirloom watch her family believes is enchanted with a potent love spell, she fights superstition with superstition by hiring a psychic finder to track it down.
Chase Hunter is a human compass, homing in on whatever the seeker wants most—that is, when he isn’t surfing or actively avoiding anything resembling a real human attachment. Such has been his life since an accident took his family.
Unfortunately, Mia’s case isn’t a simple insta-Find. The catch? To disguise his real mission from her romance-crazy family, he has to pretend to be her boyfriend. He could deal with that if her complicated emotions weren’t blocking his abilities—or if her innermost desires weren’t walloping him upside the head every time he opens himself to his gift.
As the case wears on, their fake romance begins to feel all too real. Scary stuff for a man who’s reluctant to let himself live again. And a woman who doesn’t believe in magic…or love.
Warning: This book contains meddling grandmothers, magic watches, and a surfer with a body so hot it can teach any scientist the true meaning of chemistry.
FINDER’S KEEPER can be found at Amazon, B&N, and Samhain.
Keep up with Vivi’s upcoming releases and exciting adventures through her website!
Posted by Sara Ramsey May 3 2012, 12:01 am in author interview, new releases, Ruby Release, Vivi Andrews, writing romance
I’m thrilled and delighted to host the release party for Superlovin’, the latest novella from Vivi Andrews. Vivi shared an advance copy of this book with me, and I ADORED it…and then kept trying to recommend it to people who were looking for things to read, only to be reminded that it still wasn’t out.
But now it *is* out, and you can find out how amazing it is for yourself! Superlovin’ is all about an evenly matched superhero and supervillain who have to get over their preconceived notions (and their own reputations) to recognize that they just may be perfect for each other. It’s fast-paced, fun, and thought-provoking, and I loved every second of it.
Enough gushing from me, though — you’re here to see Vivi. Even though she’s holed up in her secret lair in Cannes (lucky woman), she took the time to respond to a few of my questions (which let me pretend to be an intrepid newspaper reporter – every superhero story needs one of those, right?). And if you leave a comment, you have a chance to win an ebook of Superlovin’!
Sara: What drew you to superheroes after spending so much time with your more paranormal-tinged Karmic Consultants series?
Vivi: I don’t think of them as so very different – psychic powers and super powers. The super world really is just turning up the volume and taking everything to the extremes, and I do love me some extremes. I’ve always loved superhero stories – good versus evil! With great power comes great responsibility! – and so when my editor put out a call for superhero stories, it seemed like the perfect time to try my hand at writing one. And I got addicted. I absolutely love playing in the super gene pool.
Sara: I love how you played with traditional superhero tropes – particularly the idea that people get typecast as ‘good’ or ‘evil’ and then can’t shake their reputations (deserved or not). What was your inspiration for these characters?
Vivi: I’m totally fascinated by the Good Guy/Bad Guy polarity and the PR maneuvering that goes into public perception. Yeah, Superlovin’ is a romance about superheroes, but I wanted it to also be about the grey areas. Lucien and Darla are both legacy supers – their parents are famous… or in Lucien’s case, infamous. As I was playing with the idea, I couldn’t stop wondering what life would be like as the kid of a supervillain… or the daughter of the world’s most famous superhero power couple. How much choice would you have about who you grew into? How long would you fight against being typecast before giving in to your inevitable role? How would a super kid rebel? The odd blend of celebrity and righteous crime-fighting duty was just too tempting to ignore.
Sara: Lucien and Darla are so evenly matched – it’s really refreshing to see a hero and heroine who can match each other. They fight each other rather aggressively while trying to meet their goals, which I haven’t seen in a lot of romances – the only scenes I could think of that would come close are in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (and just to be clear, I adored both that movie and this book!). Did your editor or beta readers have any issues with the hero and heroine’s fight scenes?
Vivi: Dude. I LOVE Mr. and Mrs. Smith. And you know, none of my betas or editors seemed to have a problem with the fact that Darla and Lucien wale on each other. It probably helps that the two of them are pretty much impervious to harm so the beat down is all chaos, no bruises. Interestingly, one advanced reviewer was bothered by the fact that Darla is initially very superficially attracted to Lucien’s mega-strength (though she said I pulled it out in the end, despite her initial reservations). But nope, so far no one has been wigged out by the fight scenes. At least not that I’ve heard about.
Sara: Superlovin’ was tightly plotted and well-crafted, and I didn’t feel like it was missing anything – a feat that not all novellas (or novel-length works!) achieve. I’m in awe at how you get such a tight, cohesive story into a novella-length work. Any tips for those of us who struggle to write short?
Vivi: Thank you! I try not to think of it as cramming a whole book into a novella. Writing short to me is an opportunity, not a limitation. An opportunity to write a more tightly focused story – really zeroing in on the hero and heroine. Or an opportunity to skip the parts that I don’t feel like writing. 😉 You can’t wander with a novella. Each scene has to have a purpose – preferably two or three purposes. It’s a great way to force yourself to stay focused as a writer, knowing you only have so many words to tell the story you want to tell. Big stories need big books, but not all love stories are massive and epic. I think of novellas as pocket-sized romances.
Sara: I’m super jealous of your current escapades – spending a few weeks in Europe sounds way fun. How do you balance your writing with your amazing traveling lifestyle?
Vivi: It’s easier than you might think. And it probably helps that I’m a compulsive list-maker. Mostly, I just bring my little mini laptop with me everywhere and when I feel like I’m falling behind on writing tasks I’ll take an apartment for a week or a month to get myself caught up and then I’m off again. Right now I’ve got a cute little apartment in Cannes to use as my home base during release week (and do laundry) then next week I’m off to Italy – with plans to work on edits on the train. I’m a lucky brat.
Sara: What’s coming out next? More superheroes, or something else? Is Lucien’s sister Mirabelle going to get her story?
Vivi: Yes! There are more superheroes on the way – including Mirabelle’s story, Superbad, which will hit ereaders in July – but in the mean time, just next month actually, I have a sexy reboot of Rumpelstiltskin coming out called Spinning Gold, in which the prince is the villain and a studly gold-spinner steps in to save the fair maiden. Not your everyday once upon a time.
Sara: I cannot wait for Spinning Gold! Or for Superbad, but I’ll take whatever I can get as soon as possible 🙂
Vivi, thanks for answering these questions!
And now, here’s an excerpt from Superlovin’:
He heard the distant electrical whine of a train coming down the tracks. Three minutes, give or take…
Lucien let the icy-hot pain starting to spike in his temples show on his face. “I could come quietly,” he said, making his voice tight with strain. “For a price.”
“I don’t negotiate with supervillains.”
“Not even for my surrender? My complete surrender.”
Interest lit her up-tilted emerald eyes, but her jaw remained clenched in an unyielding line. “No deals. I won’t bribe you to play nice when you’ve already lost.”
“But all I wanted was a kiss.”
She went motionless above him, as if she’d forgotten the need to breathe.
“One little kiss,” he purred. “And I’ll go meekly to my jail cell. No tricks. No trouble.”
He couldn’t read her expression. Something odd and almost hopeful colored the suspicion in her gaze. She hesitated. The train rattled closer. Her fingers eased their death grip on his hair.
“Are you kidding? I’ve always wanted a shot at the great Darla Powers. Who hasn’t? That Maxim spread changed my life.”
Her eyes darkened. “That damn magazine—”
“Hey, don’t damn that magazine. I could compose sonnets to that magazine. Especially your issue. I think you single-handedly launched a generation of twelve-year-old boys into puberty with that spread.” The picture had become a cultural icon. Darla Powers, the super answer to Marilyn Monroe. “Tell me you still have the bustier and I’ll die happy.”
She blushed. “That is none of your business.”
Dear God, she still has it. Unwholesome interest stirred below Lucien’s belt. He’d been joking, but now he couldn’t get the image out of his head. Her incredible figure overflowing the snug black lace with a shimmering red D curled under one breast in a parody of her suit. Maybe she still wore it. Maybe she put it on for the schmuck boyfriend who’d let her walk out on their date. Jealousy gave his gut an ugly twist, but he ignored it. She wasn’t with her schmuck boyfriend now.
“One kiss,” he said, the words coming out as more of a demand than he’d intended, his voice so dark and hungry he barely recognized it. “One kiss and I’ll do whatever you want.”
The words were supposed to be a lie, but at the moment he almost believed them himself. Darla Powers was a woman who could own a man’s soul if she put her mind to it. If she could let herself be that bad…
Hot, right?! Comment to win an ebook! And thanks again, Vivi!
If you can’t wait to buy Superlovin’, it’s available on Kindle, Nook, or at Samhain.com. Go! Go now!
Sara Ramsey writes fun, feisty Regency romances. Her latest book, SCOTSMEN PREFER BLONDES, is out now, and features a secret Gothic romance novelist and the earl she’s forced to marry (because nothing says love like being compromised). To find out more about her books, visit www.sararamsey.com.